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CFP: Making Women Visible: A Conference in Honour of Barbara Brookes

Making Women Visible: A Conference in Honour of Barbara Brookes

15-17 February 2016, University of Otago.

Making Women Visible honours Professor Barbara Brookes, one of New Zealand’s most important scholars, who has worked at the cutting-edge of historical enquiry for several decades. Over the course of her career, Barbara’s scholarship has encompassed diverse topics (including reproductive politics, mental health, film, photography, performance, race relations, disability, sexuality and feminism). These topics have been approached in imaginative ways (biography, the histories of emotion, comparative and transnational approaches), but throughout she has consistently placed women at the centre of her work.

This conference (15-17 February 2016) not only celebrates a distinguished career, but also marks the arrival of Barbara’s much-awaited survey history of New Zealand women, which will be officially launched as part of the conference programme. Its publication invites a renewed focus on New Zealand women’s history. It has been over twenty years since the suffrage centenary that was the catalyst for the publication of a number of important books, including Sandra Coney’s foundational survey history, Standing in the Sunshine. Since 1993, the number of books, edited collections, articles and theses concerned with aspects of women’s history has greatly expanded and the methodological approaches have undergone evolution. We think it is time, therefore, to reflect on the body of scholarship produced by historians since the early 1990s – to consider its impact on the teaching, researching, and writing of women’s history since then and also to look forward to where the field is headed.

The conference theme focuses on one of the core goals of women’s history, which has been to make women visible, therefore we invite papers that address ‘visibility’ from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The conference committee particularly invites proposals for individual papers and panels that reflect Barbara’s areas of research, speak to the theme of visibility and consider the generation of scholarship since the early 1990s with a view to what has changed and what challenges lie ahead. We are especially keen to receive paper proposals from postgraduates as well as those working in the arts and heritage sector.

In addition to streamed paper sessions, the conference will feature special forums led by two prominent New Zealand historians, Professor Charlotte Macdonald and Professor Margaret Tennant.

Professor Barbara Brookes will offer a keynote address, to be followed by a conference reception, and the launch of her new book, A History of New Zealand Women (Bridget Williams Books, 2016).

A key outcome will be the publication of an edited volume of essays arising from the conference.

Please submit a 250-word abstract along with a short biographical statement by 31 August 2015 to

If you wish to propose a panel, please provide a panel title, along with abstracts and biographical statements for each presenter, and submit it to by 31 August 2015.

Conference committee: Jane Adams, Katie Cooper, Jane McCabe, Sarah Christie and Angela Wanhalla (University of Otago)


Centre member wins Ernest Scott Prize 2015

Congratulations to Professor Tom Brooking whose Richard Seddon, King of God’s Own: The Life and Times of New Zealand’s Longest-Serving Prime Minister was co-winner of the Ernest Scott Prize for 2015, with Alan Atkinson’s The Europeans in Australia, Vol 3: Nation. Tom is the second CROCC member to have won this prize awarded for “the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation”.  Angela Wanhalla won in 2014, and Centre director, Tony Ballantyne, was shortlisted in 2013.  Click here for the publisher’s info on Richard Seddon.

Two MA scholarships offered

Are you interested in New Zealand history? Are you looking for scholarship funding? If you have a BA (hons) first class in History or Māori Studies then you’re in luck. Two Centre members, Michael Stevens and Angela Wanhalla, are seeking applicants for MA scholarships attached to their respective Royal Society of New Zealand research projects. See the details below for further information.


MA Scholarship in New Zealand History

History or background of award

The scholarship is attached to a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship project led by Dr. Angela Wanhalla (Department of History and Art History, University of Otago) on ‘The Politics of Intimacy in New Zealand History’, and funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Purpose of award

Applications are invited from suitably qualified students interested in working on an aspect of private life and the law, particularly associated with the governance and control of marriage in New Zealand, during the nineteenth and/or twentieth centuries. Potential areas of investigation include, but are not limited to: marital violence; bigamy; arranged marriage; customary marriage and the law; cross-cultural relationships and the law; Māori marriage; co-habitation; marital property.

Selection criteria

The successful applicant will have a BA honours (first class), or equivalent in History. A background in New Zealand history is preferred.

Number of awards offered



$16,000 stipend, plus tuition fees

Tenure of award

One year, or two years part-time.

Start date:

You may begin the thesis at any stage during 2015, or by 1 July 2016 at the latest.

Further Information

Please send a cover letter, a copy of your academic record, a thesis proposal, and a sample piece of writing to Angela Wanhalla ( by 22 June.



MA Scholarship in New Zealand History

History or background of award

The scholarship is attached to a Marsden Fast-Start project led by Dr. Michael Stevens (Department of History and Art History, University of Otago) entitled ‘Between Local and Global: A World History of Bluff’, which is funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Purpose of award

Applications are invited from suitably qualified students interested in working on an aspect of maritime history, ideally with a focus on southern New Zealand and/or with a strong Māori focus, during the nineteenth and/or twentieth centuries. Potential areas of investigation include, but are not limited to: cargo handling; port development (e.g. reclamation; pilotage; built environment); boat-building; commercial fishing; crew culture; marriage patterns; mahinga kai; gendered occupations; intergenerational family businesses; associational culture; religion; class conflict (e.g. strikes and lockouts).

Selection criteria

The successful applicant will have a BA honours (first class) or equivalent, in History or Māori Studies. A background in New Zealand history is strongly preferred.

Number of awards offered



$16,000 stipend (paid in monthly installments), plus tuition fees.

Tenure of award

One year.

Start date:

You may begin the thesis during any stage of 2015, or by 1 March 2016 at the latest.

Further Information

Please send a cover letter, a copy of your academic record, a thesis proposal, and a sample piece of writing to Michael Stevens ( by 22 June.


Kalimpong Reunion

A reunion was held today (28/11/14) at St Margarets College of descendants of migrants from the St Andrews Colonial Homes.  The Homes, now known as the Dr Graham Homes, made up a boarding school in Kalimpong (West Bengal, India) mainly for children of indigenous women and European tea planters.  Set up by Reverent Dr. John Anderson Graham in 1900, this Christian school educated the “Anglo-Indian” children, some of whom as teenagers were then sent to New Zealand between 1908 and 1938. The women worked as domestic servants, and the men as farm labourers.


Professor Tony Ballantyne addresses the reunion on the significance of Jane McCabe’s thesis.


Jane McCabe

The “Kalimpong Kids” were the subject of Jane McCabe‘s PhD thesis in the Department of History and Art History, supervised by Professor Tony Ballantyne and Dr Angela Wanhalla, both Centre members.  The Centre has also supported the reunion, organised by Jane.  About 65 descendants and family are attending and they have two days of planned events ahead of them.

Jane McCabe is herself a descendant of one of the original migrants, and her research involved contacting and interviewing some of the families.  Her PhD was examined recently and judged “exceptional” by the examiners.  Check out her website to find out more about her work.

Click here for Otago Daily Times report.

Launch of “Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own”


A great crowd filled the Hocken.


Erik Olssen, with by Sharon Dell and Tom Brooking [left], launch the new book on Richard Seddon.

Well over 100 people packed into the Hocken Collections foyer last night to help launch CROCC member Professor Tom Brooking’s latest book, Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own, giving a great indication of both Tom’s wide circles of friends and his reputation of one of New Zealand’s leading historians.  As anyone who knows Tom would expect, there was a range of interesting wines and beers to help the celebration.

Hocken Librarian, Sharon Dell, introduced the event, and was followed by Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen who formally launched the book.  As Erik pointed out, there had not been a comprehensive biography since R.M. Burdon’s 1955 biography on New Zealand’s most successful Premier perhaps due to the the giant shadow that Seddon cast.  Tom’s biography opens up considerable new perspectives and information on the man.


Budding new historians listening to the master.

Tom Brooking then discussed the topic of his research, recounting Seddon’s many achievements and his ability to connect with Māori, with workers, and the general public. However he was also a man of his own times, and his imperialist jingoism and anti-Chinese sentiment would not meet with such popular acclaim today.

At 584 pages this is a substantial book, but also one destined to be a classic within  New Zealand historiography.


“A World History of Bluff”


Dr Michael Stevens.

Last year CROCC member, Dr Michael Stevens won a Fast Start Marsden Award to research how the Southland port of Bluff connected with the rest of the world, and how this impacted on the town (and vice-versa), in particular the local Kāi Tahu people.  As the Royal Society stated, “As a “Bluffie” of Kai Tahu descent, Dr Stevens is ideally placed to carry out a research project that is meaningful to both academics and the local inhabitants.”  In order to share his on-going research, Michael has created a new website “A World History of Bluff” with an associated Facebook Page.

Click here to view the website.

New Biography on Richard Seddon

photo-34Richard Seddon was a colossal figure in New Zealand politics up to his death in 1906.  His Liberal Party was New Zealand’s first modern political party; his government introduced old age pensions and votes for women, as well as an industrial conciliation and arbitration system.  Seddon was able, for much of his time as Prime Minister, to gain the support from a wide range of the political spectrum, at the same time that the rest of the world marvelled at the country’s “socialist” experiments.

It has been almost 60 years since an authoritative biography of Seddon has appeared, R.M. Burdon’s King Dick.   Until now!  CROCC member, Professor Tom Brooking’s latest book Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own has just been published by Penguin Books, and gives us fresh insights into “the Life and Times of New Zealand’s Longest-serving Prime Minister”.   Congratulations, Tom.

Dr Angela Wanhalla wins Ernest Scott Prize

At the Australian Historical Association conference in Brisbane last night, Matters of the HeartCROCC member Dr Angela Wanhalla was awarded the Ernest Scott Prize for History.  This prize is awarded annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the History of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonization published in the previous year.

Matters of the Heart: A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand was published by Auckland University Press.

As the judges commented “Angela Wanhalla’s ground breaking history of interracial relationships in New Zealand across two hundred years utilises not only the usual range of church and state records but also personal papers, family and local histories to track the lives of couples whose relationship was sustained over a period of time.  While Maori women left little trace for the historian, Wanhalla uses analysis of images, particularly photography, to overcome some of the gaps and silences in the record. She takes a broad view of coupling which incorporates common law relationships, Maori ceremonies and Christian marriages sanctioned by the State and also takes account of various debates and legislative action in relation to marriage over time.

“Wanhalla draws on the recent work by anthropologists and historians such as Ann Laura Stoler to explore the history of emotion and sentiment as central to these encounters. She historicises the specific context in which these are expressed and how they changed over time in relation to the society and demographics. She notes that interracial relationships in New Zealand have often been used as evidence of ‘gentle colonialism’ but while  her study of intimacy makes an important contribution to overturning simplistic paradigms of race relations on the frontier and beyond,  Wanhalla still  emphasises the framework of gendered and racial power struggles within which these relationships operated.”

Congratulations to Angela for her ongoing success!


W.H. Oliver Lecture at Palmerston North

Our Centre Director, Professor Tony Ballantyne, will be giving the W.H. Oliver Lecture for 2014.  This event is held annually at Massey University, Palmerston North in honour of the eminent New Zealand historian, Professor Bill Oliver.  Click here for further details of this public lecture.

Cowan Symposium Call-for-Papers

Call for Papers

New Perspectives on James Cowan

A One-Day Symposium

 Centre for Research on Colonial Culture and the Alexander Turnbull Library

National Library, Wellington, 21 February 2014


James Cowan is best known for his official history of the New Zealand Wars, but his significance for the production and circulation of knowledge about Māori in the late colonial era covered a broad range of subjects. Alan Mulgan wrote after Cowan’s death in 1943 that more than anyone else, he had ‘shown us how to think as New Zealanders’. Mulgan signaled here not only Cowan’s prolific writing, but also his cross-cultural engagement from the 1890s to the 1940s. He was himself a figure of the type he so admired: the cultural go-between. Although his work often purveys the racial ideologies of his time, Cowan’s early use of oral historical methods, and familiarity with a wide range of Māori informants, effected the transition to print of much that would not otherwise have been circulated in Pākehā contexts, or recorded in print.

Cowan’s reputation has fluctuated in response to shifts in cultural politics, writing and historiography. His work began to attract contemporary scholarly attention with an article by Chris Hilliard in NZJH in 1997. Stories of the New Zealand Bush has been republished recently with a critical introduction by Alex Calder. The Adventures of Kimble Bent was read on National Radio in 2011, and re-written as a graphic novel, and film-makers have drawn on his work over decades. Some dimensions of Cowan’s work invite closer study: his significance for iwi history, his photographic collection, and the personal life of this particularly colonial figure, for example, would repay investigation.

For this one-day event, we invite papers which evaluate Cowan’s contribution to colonial encounter and colonial memory from a wide range of perspectives.

Please send abstracts (up to 250 words) and a bio (up to 100 words) in a Word attachment, by 30 September 2013.

Abstracts and enquiries should be sent to:

Further information about the symposium will be forthcoming.

Associate Professor Chris Hilliard, University of Sydney, will give a concluding commentary.


Annabel Cooper (Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, U of Otago)

Ariana Tikao (Research Librarian, Māori, Alexander Turnbull Library),


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